Process Mapping


You have a very limited understanding of what is going on here? However, you should improve the yield, speed up a process, improve output, or reduce costs. None of these, you are just supposed to solve a problem? It seems to make sense to first of all understand what is going on? Yes, what you need is to map the process!

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A Process Map is a visual display of activities in their logical sequence. 


Process maps help to:

  • establish a common understanding of the process.
  • communicate effectively with all involved stakeholders.
  • document processes.
  • clarify how a process operates.
  • uncover process problems (complexity, waste, delays, inefficiencies, and bottlenecks).
  • Identify ideas for improving the process.

There are many different approaches to process mapping. Before choosing a process map define clearly what is the objective and understand what each type is for. 


  • Basic Process Mapping: Helps to quickly note processes step by step from start to finish. Get together with your team, grab a pen and sticky notes, and start brainstorming.
  • Activity Flow Chart: Highlights decision points and feedback loops and shows the complexity of the process. These loops usually create waiting times and delays, so it is good to keep an eye on them.
  • Swimlane Diagram: Illustrates who is doing what in a process. Handovers, loops, and unclear responsibilities become apparent.
  • Spaghetti Diagram: Visually illustrates how people, materials, or information move on an area or layout from a bird's eye view. Work with this diagram to spot your transport and movement waste.
  • Value Stream Map: Gives an overview on the value creation process. It shows the flow of materials and information required to get a product to the customer.

Besides those 5 main process mapping approaches, there is an extra one more focussed on summarizing inputs and outputs rather than displaying the activities in their logical sequence:

  • SIPOC: A high-level process map that supports process scoping. With SIPOC you will detect the process behind a problem and identify relevant stakeholders. You understand what to pay attention to.


When to use which process mapping tool? This table shows how to decide when to work with Activity Flow Chart, with Swimlane or Spaghetti Diagram, or Value Stream Map.




Process Mapping has many facets. Use our quiz to tap into the full potential of these techniques. 

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You want to learn more about Process Mapping? Some exercises would be helpful, so check out our eLearning on Process Mapping.

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